Saturday, May 31, 2014

On Being a Shitty Friend

I am a shitty friend. I try not to ask too much from the people that I give too little to, to make up for this fact.

It is not that I don't know how to be a good friend. It is that I don't have enough space in my head or energy in my body to give it to more than a few people at any given time. This means that, for the most part, I choose to give my time and energy to those I'm closest to and, selfishly, who give the most back to me, which usually means the people I'm romantically involved with. Even when I'm doing really well and I have more open time, I seem to only manage to see anyone about once a month. When I'm not doing well... well, you can just forget seeing me. Oh, and I don't go to parties or group gatherings. The few exceptions are when I'm going for or with people that I'm romantically involved with.

I am not always there for the people I care about when I should be, or when they ask me to. Sometimes I don't know how to be. Sometimes I don't have the energy to be. Sometimes I'm sure it seems like I'm selfish. Sometimes I am.

Sometimes I get a brief window in which I have the time and energy and head space to do what I think makes me be a good friend. But sometimes you end up doing what makes them think you are a shitty friend, even shittier than before.

I hope you are not too mad at me, or that with time you might stop being mad at me and see that I was trying to do what I thought was best. While I can't say I know exactly what you are going through, I have felt hopeless and had a friend stop me from doing the only things that would actually take all hope away. Hell, I've had the same friend do it on multiple occasions. I know what it feels like to think that the world is better off without you or that you are better off without the world and not care what it is like without you. But I've also been at the funerals of two people who committed suicide, seen firsthand the toll that it took on one of those people I am a shitty friend to. There have been times that that thought was a large part of what kept me not doing the same. Even if your family is horrible, there is someone in your life who doesn't deserve that. When speaking philosophically, I don't feel like anyone should get to tell a person that they must continue living an intolerable life. When it is a terminal physical disease, I'm the first to argue for their right to end their life with as much dignity as possible, at the moment of their chosing. But mental illnesses are not so clear cut and, especially when it comes to someone I know, I have a much more difficult time giving up the hope that their life can be better. Though maybe that is because if I do that, then I can start letting myself give up hope that my life can be better. And without that hope, I am lost.

So today I'll be a shitty friend.

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